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No charges in raid of CBD oil containing THC

Prosecutors in Pennington County have declined to issue charges resulting from a police raid of a health food store and the seizure of hemp-derived CBD oil which was found to contain THC, the compound in marijuana that produces a high sensation.

Police and sheriff's deputies raided Staple and Spice Market in Rapid City May 23 and seized 16 individual or bundled packages of CBD oil products worth about $3,000. The raid was the result of an earlier purchase by a Rapid City police officer who had a CBD product tested and found it was positive for THC, according to the Rapid City Journal.

Pennington County State's Attorney Mark Vargo said he chose not to charge the owner whose products came from Plus CBD Oil, a California manufacturer.

"In order to prosecute somebody for the distribution of THC, which is a schedule 1 (drug), we would have to prove that they did so knowingly. And when they're relying on manufacturer representations, which turn out to be wrong, it would be kind of hard to prove that they did so knowingly," Vargo said Monday.

"I didn't do anything wrong," store owner Carol Pugh said.

Vargo recently sent a letter to stores that sell or are interested in selling CBD products urging caution in sourcing CBD manufacturers.

"Significantly, some of the tests show that the products, which claim to have no THC, not only have THC acid but also have the psychoactive form of THC," Vargo wrote, adding that THC is illegal in South Dakota in any quantity or concentration.

"Given the lack of quality control of products that are not FDA approved, I would again urge caution in your sourcing of products claiming to be CBD. Third party testing of any new brands would be distinctly advisable," Vargo told the businesses.

CBD most often comes from a cannabis plant known as hemp, which is defined by the U.S. government as having less than 0.3% THC, the compound that causes marijuana's mind-altering effect. CBD doesn't produce that high, but fans of the products claim benefits including relief for pain and anxiety.

Plus CBD Oil said on its website that its products contain less than 0.3%, but that anyone who takes a drug test should not use their products since they're not completely THC free.

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